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The Life of a Juilliard Dancer

Ever wonder what it would be like to dance for Juilliard?

We recruited Victoria to keep a dance diary of her experiences. Victoria is a real dancer at Juilliard School in New York City. She will explain how she came about becoming a student and what her day to day life is like. If you ever dreamed of being a student at Juilliard, this will be a peek inside the life of one of its current stars!

57th Entry, October 28th, 2014:

This is a special entry about a very special performance. As I mentioned in the last post, my class was invited to perform at New York City Center’s Fall For Dance Festival. It was a thrill to walk to the theater on the first day of tech rehearsals; City Center sits directly across the street from Carnegie Hall! On the first day at the theater, I was given a special entry card to enter the building. It was all so official! I loved walking through the backstage entrance with my “Artist” Identification card.

We performed on both Thursday and Friday night. My family was able to come watch me on Thursday night (I’m so happy they live close by!) They left after I performed, so at intermission I was able to snag their tickets so I could watch the remainder of the show. I was blown away with the performances of Ballet Jazz de Montréal and Rennie Harris’s Pure Movement Works. I wasn’t able to see Australian Ballet because they performed right after we did, but I’m sure they were stunning as well.

It was incredible to be up on such a legendary stage; I have seen so many performances from way up in the nosebleed seats. I made sure to look all the way up into the high balcony as I bowed at the end of the piece. I always appreciate the dancers who acknowledge all of the audience members. You never know who is watching you out there, and I perform as if I’m introducing dance to someone who has never been exposed to it. I can only hope to inspire someone no matter what their age, gender, shape or size to do what they love and find passion in their everyday life.

56th Entry, October 14th, 2014:

When I looked at my agenda last Sunday night, I realized I was rehearsing every night and I immediately scheduled an appointment with my masseuse for Friday night after my final rehearsal. I must say it was the best decision I made all week! Monday was the first day of our New Dances rehearsal process. Yes you’re right- I am rehearsing last year’s New Dances piece for a performance next week at New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, while simultaneously working on this year’s New Dances piece! On Monday we started rehearsals with Kate Weare. We jumped into some intense partnering work and before I knew it, three hours flew by and rehearsal was over! We worked with Kate on Monday Wednesday, and Friday, and we rehearsed with Brian Brooks on Tuesday and Thursday. I can’t believe I am performing this upcoming week! We only have two more rehearsals in the studio before we have our first tech rehearsal in the theater on Wednesday. The lineup for the evening is incredible. There are companies from around the world such as the Australian Ballet and Les Ballet Jazz De Montréal. The most exciting part? We open the show on both nights that we perform!

I’m relieved that some of my daily classes have been canceled so I have time to prepare and rest for the performances. I had a chance to go home to see my family this weekend and regroup before I perform. My mom, dad, brother, and grandmother are all coming to see the show on Thursday. I love that I get to see them twice in one week!

And in case you were wondering, I have already made another appointment with the massage therapist for the day after the last performance. There will be soreness in my foreseeable future! I’ll report back with how the show went in my next entry- wish me luck!

55th Entry, October 11th, 2014:

It’s officially October! This past week marked the beginning of a lot of new and exciting things. Every Monday morning, we have a Stagecraft class. We trade our dancewear and eye shadow for headsets and wrenches. We learn about the different responsibilities of stage managers, lighting and sound designers, and other backstage positions because as third years, we do almost all of the backstage work for the Student Workshops. This Monday we prepared for the first show, which was on Thursday and Friday night. I was assigned the “wrangler” position, which meant that I had to call out the dancers and get them backstage on time before their piece started. I thought it was going to be an easy job!

On Tuesday, I received an e-mail from the Alumni Relations office: they wanted to know if I had any free afternoon hours to work in their office. With a little maneuvering of my tight schedule, I now work in the Office of Alumni Relations twice a week!

On Wednesday morning, I had an 8am Student Ambassador breakfast meeting in the President’s Board Room. I met the new ambassadors, and we discussed some upcoming plans for the student body. Afterwards, I had my usual load of classes and left school 12 hours later at 8pm.

It doesn’t end yet! Thursday evening was my big night working backstage during the Workshop performance. I had a lot of fun being a “wrangler” and being on the other side of the stage; it really allowed me to appreciate all of the behind-the-scenes work it takes before the dancers can perform!

On Friday, I attended the annual Tour Guide meeting. I met the other guides and we were served dinner. I enjoyed meeting new students from other divisions! To round out the busy week, on Saturday I got a massage and saw the Broadway musical, “On the Town.” I met one of the producers of the show, Juilliard alumnus Bruce Robert Harris at the Martha Hill documentary premiere at Juilliard two weeks ago. I told him I was looking into seeing the show, and he promised me he would set aside tickets for Juilliard students. On Saturday night, as I walked up the steps to the theater on 42nd street, Bruce was standing right there! He recognized me immediately! I gave him a hug and thanked him for the tickets. He said it was his duty as an alumnus to give back to the Juilliard community and we both agreed to stay in touch!

All in all, I’d say it was a fantastic week, and I can’t wait to see what the following days will bring!

54th Entry, October 6th, 2014:

The weeks have been fuller than ever, and it’s still September! Last week, I went home to celebrate my brother’s 19th birthday. It was great to recharge and visit my family before (another!) busy week. On Monday afternoon, all of my rehearsals were canceled (completely unheard of) and I decided to visit the Museum of Modern Art. I was required to visit the museum and write about some of its exhibits for my Arts & Aesthetics class. It was so inspiring! I was mesmerized by the pieces by Warhol, Matisse, and Toulouse-Lautrec, just to name a few. It was one of those “I love New York” afternoons.

On Tuesday, it was business as usual with my four classes and then rehearsal. By the end of rehearsal, I realized my back was a little sore. I’ve become hyperaware of any discomfort in my lower back ever since I seriously injured it last year. Low and behold, the next morning my back was in total spasm; I could not stand, walk, or move in general. I got in touch with my acupuncturist and lay on my back for most of the day. I couldn’t dance on Thursday, and I managed to do a little dancing on Friday. However, the real relief came when one of my teachers recommended I see a very well known masseuse in the neighborhood. He is always booked, but I managed to snag a session with him on Saturday afternoon at 2:30pm. By 3:30pm, I was a new woman- he made the pain go away! I made a follow up appointment for the following Saturday and skipped out of the office (skipping was a big deal because standing was an issue before the treatment.)

Saturday evening was beautiful- it was warm outside and I wasn’t in pain! My friends and I decided to go to a favorite Juilliard weekend hang out spot: Dizzy’s Jazz Club. The club is a very upscale venue located at the top the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. There is a live jazz band almost every night, and a lot of the time it is comprised of Juilliard Jazz students! Saturday was a special dance night, so the tables and chairs were pushed to the side to make room for a little dance floor. The band was made up of all Juilliard musicians and almost everyone on the dance floor was from Juilliard too! Nothing is like dancing the night away to incredible live music with some of the most talented young people in the world!

53rd Entry, October 1st, 2014:

I’m only two weeks into this school year and I’m blown away by how much has happened in the past week. Let’s begin at the beginning. Rehearsals with Brian Brooks and his company have been exciting and productive. As you could imagine, rehearsing a 30-person piece could be a nightmare. However, all 30 of us are so focused and present that we are able to get a lot accomplished. The performance is less than a month away!

Now I move away from dancing in a show to actually attending one. On Monday morning, I heard that the pop singer Lorde (her hit song is called “Royals”) would be in New York for two nights. I searched high and low and tried to get someone to go to the concert with me. Alas, it was a Tuesday night and everyone was busy. Lorde is one of my favorite artists, so I did what any super fan and strong independent woman would do: I bought myself a ticket and went alone! I managed to snag a ticket in orchestra center in the tenth row for a reasonable price. I had such a great time! I sang, danced, and bought myself a t-shirt. I was so glad I saw her live!

The concert wasn’t the only “performance” I attended this week. On Thursday night, everyone in the Dance Division was required to attend a viewing of “Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter”, a documentary about Martha Hill, the woman who founded the Dance Division at Juilliard. Juilliard Dance alums were invited to the viewing as well. As the lights went down, I scanned the audience for any familiar faces, and all of a sudden I saw one of my great mentors: Francis Patrelle. I first met him when I was 11 and he cast me as Mary, the lead in his version of the Nutcracker. When I was about 14, I felt burnt out and wanted to quit dance. Mr. Patrelle told me that I couldn’t stop dancing because I would look in the mirror when I was 20 years old and regret the decision; he is the reason why I didn’t end my dance career. When I was 17, I broke my foot while performing in his Nutcracker. I was unable to audition for any summer programs, so he called a friend and asked her if I could attend the summer program where she taught ballet. With his word and a DVD of my performance as Dew Drop in the Nutcracker only days before, I was accepted into the summer program. The program was Juilliard’s Summer Dance Intensive in 2011. Mr. Patrelle not only convinced me not to stop dancing, but he was instrumental in starting my career at Juilliard. Mr. Patrelle is a Juilliard alum and an early graduate of the Dance Division. The documentary began, and before I knew it, Mr. Patrelle was on the screen describing his experiences with Martha Hill and the early days at Juilliard; I was overwhelmed with emotion. When the lights rose in the auditorium, I bolted to where he was sitting and gave him a big, tight hug and kissed his rosy cheek. Afterwards, there was a reception and Mr. Patrelle and I reminisced about the old days when I was in ballet school. It was an incredible and inspiring evening. Everything came full circle for me!

I’ll be writing part two of this entry soon- there was just too much going on last week to fit it into one post!

52nd Entry, September 21st, 2014:

I feel like I’ve been a Junior at Juilliard for at least a semester, but it’s only been one week! I’ve been so busy! We kicked off the year with the annual Convocation ceremony followed by a picnic in Lincoln Center. President Polisi and Dean Guzelimian gave speeches and recognized the loss of a great Juilliard alumnus, Robin Williams. President Polisi showed a clip of himself presenting Robin Williams the “Alumnus of the Year Award” at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the early 90’s. Williams was absolutely brilliant! We all sat hysterically laughing in the audience with tears in our eyes. It was an incredible way to remember such a great talent of our community.

After the festivities of the opening day, the Junior class began body conditioning classes with Eric Franklin of the Franklin Method. After three or so classes, he told us he needed some dancers to be the models for his on-line tutorials. Guess how I spent the weekend before school started? Filming the on-line series of course! I’ll post a link to the videos once they are edited and posted for public use.

As you know New York is never boring, and after the filming my friends and I decided to explore events happening around Fashion Week. After all, Fashion Week takes place directly in front of Juilliard in Lincoln Center! There were many booths set up for free fashion-related activities: hair braiding, makeovers, photo booths. Needless to say, we went to all of them!

I had a packed schedule for the first full day back at school that Monday. I am already in rehearsals. Usually we don’t start rehearsing for our “New Dances” Performance until October, but my class was invited to dance in New York City Center’s “Fall for Dance” Festival! We are performing the piece we did in last Decemeber’s "New Dances" performance, and our choreographer, Brian Brooks is tweaking the piece and adding seven of his own company members. Everyone is enjoying the rehearsal process. It’s great to re-visit a piece that we did a year ago. However, in about a week or two, my class will start rehearsing for this year’s "New Dances" Performances with our new choreographer Kate Weare. Thus, we will be rehearsing for two major projects simultaneously, which is unheard of!

In the next entry, I’ll tell you more about my classes this semester-I think this going to be the best year yet!

51st Entry, September 1st, 2014:

I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve had some pretty wild things going on in the past month or so. About a month ago, one morning I called in sick to work because I thought I had food poisoning from the sushi I had for lunch the day before. I have very high pain tolerance, (as most dancers do) so I figured that my stomachache would pass and I could get to work the following day. By 7pm that night, the pain had escalated to the point where I couldn’t even speak. I managed to call 911 and soon an ambulance arrived and rushed me to the ER. I was severely dehydrated and in an incredible amount of pain. I was administered an IV and morphine, anti-nausea medication, and fever reducer- I was not in good shape! After many tests and a CAT scan, the doctor told me the diagnosis: appendicitis. I needed immediate surgery before my appendix burst! I called my parents to let them know the diagnosis and that I was scheduled for a laparoscopic appendectomy at 5 a.m.! The next thing I remember is waking up and seeing my parents at my bedside.It was such a relief! Later that day I went back home with my parents to Long Island.

The recovery process was long and painful. I only had three small incisions, but they took a long time to heal. I was completely unable to walk for over a week. As you could imagine, if I couldn’t walk, I was definitely not dancing! As a matter of fact, I took my first real class since the surgery just yesterday! And this time last week guess where I was? EUROPE! I'm not kidding! But you’ll have to stick around to hear more about that adventure!

50th Entry, August 3rd, 2014:

Before I dive into the new and exciting events that have happened in the past week or so, I must follow up on last week's post. Last week, I discussed my incredible experience at the Merce Cunningham Trust's Scenario Workshop. A few days ago, I can across a review of the final showing on the New York Times website! It was written by one of the most well-known dance critics: Alastair Macaulay. I had no idea he was in the audience watching us. I'll post the link to the review at the end of the post for you to read in its entirety. I'm especially proud and humbled by Macaulay's observation, "It was notable how glowingly the young-adult dancers, all highly able and attractive, performed." The fifteen or so of us worked tirelessly for hours in order to properly recreate Merce's vision. I'm overjoyed that our hard work was recognized. Macaulay also writes about the importance of keeping legacies alive in the New York dance scene. He mentions that Juilliard will be performing Biped in the spring of 2015. Even though I’m going into my third year at Juilliard, I always remind myself how lucky I am to be there!

Click here for the article!

49th Entry, July 12th, 2014:

You’re reading the blog of a full-time working (and dancing) college woman! My summer has really taken off! Where do I even begin? I’m sure this doesn’t shock you, but I’ve picked up yet another work-study position in another office within Juilliard. More on that later. Most recently, I participated in the Merce Cunningham Trust’s Summer Workshop series.

The Merce Cunningham Trust is holding about a dozen different workshops throughout the summer. Each workshop focuses on one piece of the Cunningham repertoire. We began each day with a Cunningham technique class from 12:15-1:45, and then we rehearsed the specific work from 2-5. I participated in the Scenario workshop. Yesterday was the final day of the workshop, and we had an in-studio showing of the piece. Scenario was created in 1997 and is about 40 minutes long. We learned twenty minutes of the piece in eight days! The two people who staged the piece, Banu Ogan and Daniel Squire, were dancers in the Cunningham company for many years. They said that when they staged the work on a professional company in Germany, it took nearly seven weeks to complete!

Perhaps one of the most astonishing aspects of the workshop was that it was completely free of charge. Free organized dance workshops in New York? That’s absolutely unheard of! After the workshop was over, all of the participants were given class cards; this means we can take up to ten open Cunningham classes for free! It was such an honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to dance in the workshop. Oh! How can I forget? This was my very first experience with the Cunningham technique. All of the other dancers had years of training behind then. I was proud of myself for not only keeping up, but taking class each day and learning one of the most difficult pieces of Cunningham repertory. As a Junior at Juilliard in the fall, I will have Cunningham class twice a week, but I am so happy that I have a head start. I feel like I am really comfortable with the basics of the technique. But wait! It gets better! In the spring, for Juilliard’s Spring Dances Repertory performance we will be doing Cunningham’s Biped, a forty five minute work. One of the teachers from the workshop will be staging the piece! I will be at ease when rehearsals for Biped begin because the person in front of the room is someone whom I’ve fostered a wonderful relationship.

What I’ve just described to you is the tip of the iceberg! In my next entries, I will let you in on all of the exciting administrative work I’ve been doing here at Juilliard.

48th Entry, June 12th, 2014:

On Thursday evening I laid out my new dress, preset my coffeemaker, and went to bed at 10pm. I wanted to be fully prepared for my big day: Juilliard’s Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2014. No, my four years at Juilliard weren’t over just yet, but I attended the ceremony with a very special guest. Each year, Juilliard honors a handful of prominent creative minds with honorary doctorates. I was chosen to escort Philip Glass to the ceremony. The day I found out I was out of my mind with excitement! He is known as the most influential composer of the late 20th century. He has collaborated with incredible artists such Allen Ginsburg, Jerome Robbins, Martin Scorsese, and David Bowie, to name a few. The recipients included actress Viola Davis, Joyce DiDonato, Frank Owen Gehry, Lar Lubovitch, Marcus Roberts, and Bruce and Suzanne Kovner.

The morning of the ceremony, all of us escorts were to arrive at the front door of Juilliard at 9:45. We all chatted as we anxiously awaited our guests. We also all agreed that we were more nervous waiting for them to arrive then we are before we perform! I was talking to an actor, and she said she was more nervous waiting for Viola Davis to arrive then when she performed in Shakespeare’s Richard III the previous week!

Soon, one by one everyone’s guests were arriving and I was the only one left in the lobby. When I spotted Philip Glass, I made my way towards him. Before I reached him, a graduating student walked up to him and asked, “Hi Mr. Glass, can we take a selfie?” Low and behold, the boy whipped out his phone and took the picture! I finally reached Mr. Glass and introduced myself. I told him I would be at his side in case he needed anything or had any questions. We rode up the elevator together and chit-chatted as if we had met before! When we reached the Office of Juilliard’s President, all of the honorary doctorate recipients were getting the graduation robes on, and the press was there taking pictures. I navigated the room and made sure to be close enough to Mr. Glass so if he needed anything I wouldn’t be too far, but I kept a short distance so he could have privacy when talking to someone. After the photos were taken, we chatted and cracked some jokes as we made our way down to the ceremony. Once I dropped off Mr. Glass by the stage door, I told him I would meet him in the same spot after the ceremony. As all of us escorts sat down in our seats in the balcony, and we were pinching ourselves! I know we all felt extremely honored to be part of this phenomenal event! After wonderful speeches by President Polisi, Dean Guzelimian, and Joyce DiDonato, the honorary doctorate recipients received their doctorate, and the graduates were given their diplomas. All of us escorts had to leave a little early so we could beat the crowds of people exiting the theatre so we could meet up our respective recipients.

I congratulated Mr. Glass as we made our way back to the President’s Board room for a wonderful brunch exclusively for the recipients of the doctorates and faculty. Mr. Glass had to leave early, so once I returned his cap and gown, I took him down to street level to catch a cab. I expressed how much of an honor it was to escort him, and how I would always remember this special day. As I shook his hand, I told him that I hoped to see him again soon. He nodded his head and smiled warmly before he flagged down a cab and headed down Broadway.

Mr. Glass and I spoke as if we were old friends. My day with Mr. Glass will forever be one of my most cherished Juilliard memories.

47th Entry, June 3rd, 2014:

The big week is here: Graduation at Juilliard! NO, no, I will not be graduating, but I will be taking part in almost all of the preparations! Yesterday afternoon I had my end of the year conference with all of my teachers. It’s great to have all of my teachers in the same room so I can ask questions and get feedback from second semester.

After my conference, I decided to take the train home to Long Island and surprise my family! It was so nice to be home just for the night (I had to work in the morning). My parents and brother were thrilled to see me. The last time I was home was Easter and I brought a lot of friends with me. My father was kind enough to drive me back to the city this morning so I could avoid the long train commute to Manhattan that I know all too well.

I was asked to help organize and distribute the caps and gowns for the graduating class. Alongside some of the other work-study students, I will be alphabetizing all of the caps and gowns, and then handing them all out. I’m going to know the drill by the time I graduate! I even made new friends while I was working. It was so great to talk to people outside of the dance division. Sometimes we get stuck in our own little worlds and get into the habit of only interacting with people in the same division.

I’m thankful that the summer has proven to be busy with work. I’m being faced with an adult issue: my rent has increased! It’s one of the downsides of living in New York City, but do you know what? It’s worth it. I love my apartment and my neighborhood. I want to stay there for a long time! I’ll work the extra hours, and skip on that afternoon latte and everything will be ok.

The next thing I’m looking forward to is graduation! I mentioned earlier that I was chosen to escort honorary doctorate recipient Philip Glass to commencement. That’s going to be some event! I can’t wait!

46th Entry, May 29th, 2014:

Just because this is my last week of classes, doesn’t mean that things are cooling down any time soon. I just had the final Student Ambassador meeting of the year. It was a catered lunch in the President’s Board room with President Polisi and Dean Guzelimian, along with the other Student Ambassadors. We discussed the highlights of the past school year and brought up some poignant questions. It was so funny that I was actually taking part in the meeting instead of just setting up or helping out in one as I usually do!

After the meeting, I received a very exciting e-mail. As an ambassador, we have the opportunity to escort one of the people Juilliard has chosen to receive an honorary doctorate. I was given the honor of escorting Philip Glass! He is one of the greatest music makers of the late twentieth century. I couldn’t be more excited to spend the day alongside of him. I greet him when he arrives, help him with his cap and gown, walk down to commencement with him, and then join him and the other honorary doctorate recipients for a luncheon.

Today is the final day of school, and it’s one of the busiest yet! I started at 10:30am with ballet class, followed by a modern class, and then by 2 pm, I was off to work in the President’s Office. Today there is a huge celebration for the graduating class in the President’s boardroom. I’m sitting at my desk as I type this, and I keep slipping into the party to snag some fruit and other goodies they put out. Once I finish here, I have my first tour guide training session. After that, I have to hail a cab to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to babysit until 11pm! It’s going to be a long, exhausting, but incredibly rewarding day!

45th Entry, May 23rd, 2014:

It’s the final countdown! Seven more days of school are left! These last days are jam packed! I received an e-mail that ESPN Argentina was coming to visit Juilliard and film some of my class. I was asked to be interviewed along with two of my classmates! On Friday afternoon, I sat down with an ESPN Argentina producer, and was filmed as I answered questions about the the Juilliard Dance Division. After I spoke, they wanted to get some footage of me dancing in the studio. Unfortunately, my two classmates could not stay after they were interviewed. So, after we completed my interview, the producers told me that they wanted to get some video footage of me dancing around New York! I was thrilled. This morning at 10 am, I met the two producers outside of the Plaza Hotel. We filmed by the rocks on the duck pond in Central Park, in Columbus Circle and by the Museum of Natural History. They even filmed me leaping across the Sixth Avenue with all of the pedestrians behind me! We finished off with some shots of me leaving my apartment. It turns out that they are going to make the segment a profile of me! It was an incredible day. I’m so honored that I was able to take part in such a great day. I’m already starting to feel sore from jumping around on concrete! The weather was beautiful and it was an all around wonderful experience. It will take a month or two, but soon the episode will air on television and I will send a link to share with you all!

As I was finishing up my exciting day, I checked my e-mailed and saw some exciting news. I was recommended to be a tour guide of the dance division at Juilliard! I’ll be taking groups of prospective dancers and their parents around the school to give them a sneak peek of what happens on a daily basis. I have to go through some training sessions, and I will be giving tours by next fall. If you come visit the dance division at Juilliard, I may be the one leading you around school!

44th Entry, May 17th, 2014:

Perhaps last Tuesday evening was one of the most exciting nights of this year. As a Student Ambassador, I invited to the bi-annual Juilliard Gala. The Office of Development (the office that is in charge of running the gala) needed two male and two female dancers to attend. Do you know why? Well, they needed people on the dance floor to get the evening rocking! It was my job to get people out of their seats and start grooving to the live jazz band and singers! I was even given a seat with my name on a place card and was able to eat the delicious meal. In between courses- yup, you guessed it- I spent all of my time dancing!

There was a performance before the party in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Juilliard, and the party was set up in Lincoln Center where Fashion Week usually takes place. Now, you must be curious as to what I wore to this fabulous black tie event. After a week of complete panic before the gala about what I was going to wear, I realized the solution was right in front of me. Back at my parents house, I had a floor length, silver sequin gown. Viola! My high school prom dress would make a comeback! I was ready to dance the night away. Once seated at the table, dinner was in three courses: stacked beet salad, salmon, and chocolate cinnamon torte. Oddly enough, the woman who was seated next to me was recently hired to work in the Development Office and was born and raised on Long Island. I realize the the world gets smaller as I get older.

As the night came to an end, and we were the last few to leave, we were told we could take some of the centerpieces home with us. I chose two beautiful bouquets of long stemmed roses: one lavender and one light pink. I remember it began to drizzle as I crossed through Lincoln Center to hail a cab. As I stepped into the cab, I looked behind me and stared at the Metropolitan Opera House in all of its glory. I closed the door to the cab and peered out of the window at the raindrops, and then down at my flowers. The sequins on my dress shimmered in the moonlight. With my yellow taxi cab as my chariot, Manhattan became my kingdom, and I felt like I was in a fairytale.

43rd Entry, May 5th, 2014:

This week flew by! The days may seem long, but the weeks go by so quickly! It’s finally feeling like Spring here. There’s always a lot to do in New York City, but when it starts to stay light out longer and the weather is warmer, there are endless possibilities! The Tribecca Film Festival opened last weekend, and Central Park is packed with what seems to be all of Manhattan.

Last night, I went to the open dress rehearsal of Juilliard’s Senior Dance Production. Six Seniors create pieces and use dancers from their class and the Junior class. The Juniors are in charge of the lighting design and stage managing. The Seniors put on the whole show themselves! They have a class on how to run a show, budget, and get sponsors. I can’t wait until my class gets to do that. I enjoyed the show so much. It was great to see such fresh, original choreography that my colleagues had done all by themselves!

Next week, I don’t have my academic or music classes, so I start at 10:45 every day! Not too shabby. If it’s nice, I’ll take my bike out for a spin in Central Park before my first class. There are officially two weeks left before summer break kicks off. I’ve so many things to do before it all ends! I’m going to be majorly productive this week because time is running out!

42nd Entry, April 20th, 2014:

The official count down has begun! There are only four more weeks of school left! Four more weeks until I’m halfway done with Juilliard. That’s crazy! I can’t believe how much I’ve grown in the past two years.

Well, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself just yet. Tonight I’m going to my favorite movie theater downtown that plays indie films. After the movie, there is a Question and Answer session with the director John Turturro. Following the film, my friends and I will go to my favorite Thai restaurant in SoHo. There’s nothing like walking around SoHo on a spring night. Even though the stores are closed, there’s something about window shopping at Chanel and all of the other designers stores at night.

Even though it’s Good Friday, and Easter is this Sunday, we were in school all week! We don’t get off for Easter. Since my friends are from all over the country and the world and can’t be with their families on the holiday, I’m taking them home with me! It’s going to be four of my friends, me and my brother. My parents and grandparents are going to have to sit in the kitchen because the kids are taking over the dining room! We are going to do all of my favorite Easter activities. It’s doesn’t matter that we are all 20-year old college students; we will be dyeing eggs, having an egg hunt, and eating jellybeans, chocolate, and candy galore. I also have a pet bunny at home. Her name is Monkey and my friends are excited to meet her. How can I forget? Most of my friends are living in the dorms, so they have to eat the cafeteria food. They are looking forward to a huge home-cooked meal of ham, turkey, potatoes, asparagus, and other delicious food. They haven’t had home cooking since they were with their families for Christmas break. Everyone is also getting their own Easter baskets! I told my mom what each of my friends love, and she picked up special things knick knacks and their favorite candy. I can’t wait to see the look on everyone’s faces. I’m so happy that I’ll be able to share the holiday with friends and family. Happy Holidays to everyone!

41st Entry, April 13th, 2014:

This girl is a proud new owner of a silver, shiny, folding bicycle! At a sleek 25 pounds, this beautiful piece of machinery/technology/art fits right behind my couch! I feel like a little kid again. Now I’m on the hunt for a matching helmet.

My classes at school have been great, and I’ll all registered for next semester! I can’t believe my first semester of my Junior year is all planned out. I’ll be taking ballet, pointe, Limón, Cunningham, partnering, contact improvisation, partnering, and classical repertory. I’m taking the classical repertory class as an elective. I jumped at the opportunity to take the class because we will be learning sections from George Balanchine’s The Four Temperments. It’s one of my favorite ballets, and a former New York City Ballet dancer will be teaching the class.

I have almost all of my summer plans in motion. I will attending the Merce Cunningham summer intensive here in NYC. About two weeks ago I went to the three and a half hour (!) audition. I’ve never taken any Cunningham classes, but it was a great experience, and really got me interested in the technique. One of the teachers in the program teaches at Juilliard. I can’t believe I’m saying this already, but this summer workshop is going to prepare me for NEXT YEAR’S Spring Repertory concert. I’m going to be dancing a Cunningham piece, and there’s no such thing as too much preparation! The intensive is about three weeks long, and each day I will have a technique class and then a three hour rehearsal learning a specific piece of repertory. At the end of the three weeks, there will be a small performance. Did I mention that this incredible intensive is FREE? Oh yes. Never has something in New York been this affordable. Every weekend, I babysit for a lovely family on the Upper East Side. I’m looking forward to seeing the two year old and a five month old. With this Spring weather, hopefully I’ll be able to take them to play outside!

40th Entry, April 6th, 2014:

Somehow, it feels like the shows are a distant memory! Now that I don’t have rehearsals in the afternoon, I actually leave the building while the sun is still out! Who would’ve thought? However, I have added more hours to my work-study schedule so I can make the most of my time off. Of course, my academic teachers have decided to pile on a load of work for us! For my Society, Politics, and Culture class I have to write two papers, a seven page research paper; for my Music class I have to do a group research project and give a 20 minute lecture on on Stravinsky; and for my dance history class, I have to create a powerpoint presentation on a non-western form of dance. Now that my body doesn’t have to overextend itself in rehearsals, my brain has to!

Maybe I’m a little crazy, but I’m currently looking into taking classes at Columbia University next semester. Juilliard has an exchange program with Barnard and Columbia that allows its’ students to attend one of any number of classes offered from the curriculum. Before I got into Juilliard, I was thinking of majoring in Political Science, so this may be my chance to take a course! Of course, I will see how this could fit into my schedule. Somehow, people have done it in the past, but I’m not quite sure how. I’ll have to investigate this further....

This has (kind of) sprung in New York, so maybe I can spend some time in Central Park and ride my bike! I’m on the market for a new bike. I want to get one of the lightweight folding ones so I can fit it behind the couch. This is New York City! Either your folding bike is behind the couch, or you have to rig a pulley system and suspend it in the air. I’m not kidding, I’ve seen it in more than one apartment!

39th Entry, March 30th, 2014:

These past two weeks have been action packed! Remember when I said that performance time was the most wonderful time of the year? Well, it’s also the busiest! After a six show run and a ten day week, I’m happily exhausted. The Juilliard Dances Repertory Concert opened on a Friday night. My cast first danced on Saturday night. Coincidentally, Saturday night was also my 20th birthday! On the Thursday night before my birthday, my friend surprised me with tickets to the new Broadway show Bullets Over Broadway. It’s still in previews, and we sat right in the orchestra! It was a great way to kick off a week of performances. After an amazing all around performance and a celebratory birthday dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant, I woke up on Sunday to an amazing surprise. The critics at the New York Times gave us a glowing review! There was even a picture to go along with the article - and I was in it! I’ll post the link at the end of this post so you can all read it and see my picture! I’m the blonde girl in the front and middle in the white costume. The review made my birthday performance even more memorable.

Our final performance was on a Tuesday morning at 11am. The final performance is always special, but this performance was the most important to us. This was an outreach performance, and Juilliard had invited students from second to twelfth grade from all over the city to see the show. A lot of the kids had never seen a live dance performance before or had even been in a theatre. We were going to be the ones to let them into our theatrical world. Baker’s Dozen opened the show as it always did, but this time Lawrence Rhodes, the Artistic Director of the Dance Division came backstage and said a few words before showtime. He had a wonderful career as a dancer and now heads one of the greatest artistic conservatories in the world. He told us that his passion and love of dance started when his school took him on a field trip to see a dance performance. His entire career was sparked by a performance just like the one we were about to do. To say the least, the story inspired us all, and when the curtain went up, we danced as if it was the last time. Who knows who would discover the love of the craft like we all did so many years ago? We performed our best because we knew we could at that moment, help shape the next generation of young artists.

Click here to read Victoria's NY Times article!

38th Entry, March 15th, 2014:

Today I enjoy my final day of freedom! With yesterday’s temperature reaching a shocking 67 degrees, we New Yorkers experienced a real Spring day! Alas, today the temperature drops to 19 degrees, and we are back into a deep freeze. Tomorrow afternoon I return to school. We have to come back early to rehearse because our Spring Repertory show is a week away! Some people are upset that we have to be at school on Friday and Saturday, but I think it’s important we work in the studio before we start tech week. After all, we’ve had two weeks off, and it’s important to get back into the groove before we head into the theatre. I am so excited to perform Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen! I think that I will have a whole new outlook on the piece. I think it’s great to have some time away from the piece because when you return to dancing it, you find little nuances and moments that you didn’t realize were there!

Naturally, I’ve been taking ballet class, Pilates, and some other forms of cross training at the gym all break. It’s been wonderful to create my own schedule every day. I’ve gotten ahead in my schoolwork (a 7-page research paper-yikes!). I know once the excitement of performance week begins, then the performances, and then the post-show exhaustion kicks in, the last thing I want to do is write a big paper! My roommate/best friend just returned from sunny California last night. I can’t believe she was gone for two weeks! It felt like so much longer. It was great to catch up and have my best friend back! I couldn’t help but tease her about her tan; apparently it’s a balmy 70 degrees over in Cali. No hard feeling here or anything!

I’m looking forward to seeing my friends tomorrow! Before rehearsal we have ballet class with almost the entire division! It’ll be wild to have class with 50 people, but I’m excited to catch up with everyone.

Theatre week is upon us! For me, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

37th Entry, March 5th, 2014:

There is nothing like the prospects of Spring Break to get you through the final week of school! There will be no jet-setting to the Caribbean for me; I look forward to just being in the greatest vacation spot of all: New York City! Before I can talk about vacation, I must tell you all about my exciting rehearsals this week. On Monday, we had a “costume parade” where the entire costume department and production crew comes to make sure everything is in order. The costumes for Baker’s Dozen fit the piece so well. I’m wearing scrunched white velour leggings, a flowing skirt, a flouncy halter leotard, white jazz shoes, and big rhinestone earrings! The piece was made in the 70’s- can’t you tell? All of this excitement was in preparation for the ultimate honor: Twyla Tharp was coming to watch rehearsal the following day! Twyla Tharp is a legend, and not to mention one of my favorite choreographers! I was excited beyond belief. I know for a fact that Ms. Tharp does not come to visit all of her rehearsals. Apparently Shelley, the woman who staged the piece, and a long-time member of the Tharp company, told Twyla how proud she was of the cast. Apparently we do the piece justice! We all made sure our hair was neat, and everyone wore their favorite things! We were all a little nervous about what she would think of us. I mean, she is the choreographer, after all!

After we ran the piece, we were thrilled that Twyla had a smile on her face. She had incredible feedback and such inspiring words. It was definitely a rehearsal to remember! Not to mention, it was the final rehearsal before Spring Break! Ahhh, now on to some peace and relaxation!

36th Entry, February 15th, 2014:

Fashion Week, iontophronesis machines, a Gala event, oh my! This week has been quite exciting to say the least! We at the Juilliard School consider Lincoln Center to be our “quad”, and sometimes we lend it to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week! During our lunch break or if we have to run to the drugstore, we are forced to walk right through everything!. The fashionistas, designers, and photographers are in their best looks, and we are in true dancer apparel: orthopedic footwear, sweatpants, and puffy ski jackets. Our goal is to stay warm, and theirs is to look original (regardless of weather!) As a tradition on the first weekend of Fashion Week, my best friend and I will put on some sort of outlandish outfit and stand around looking important. It never fails, as street style photographers always snap pictures and ask us “who are you wearing?” Fashion Week is glamorous, but I think that a healthy On a more scientific note, I started using the iontophronesis machine at Physical Therapy! I promise, it’s just as exciting as seeing the newest Prada bag in hot pink (well, maybe not.) It’s a type of therapy that uses an electric current to deliver an anti-inflammatory through the skin. In any case, it’s made my Achilles tendon feel so much better!

If you weren’t oh-so-ecstatic about my new treatment, how about seeing Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, Daniel Craig, Marisa Tomei and Gwyenth Paltrow at a super-exclusive gala event on a Monday night? The Office of Student Affairs at Juilliard was allotted a few dozen tickets to be handed out to students for the event. I was lucky enough to score one! The event honored Bryan Lourd, who is the head of a major talent agency called Creative Artists Agency; he represents all of the talented artists I just mentioned! Mr. Lourd had requested that tickets be given to Juilliard students. A bunch of us sat up in the balcony, and when he finally made his way on the stage, he pointed at the balcony and said, “You guys up there? You’ll be down here in the orchestra one day.” Sarah Jessica Parker smiled and waved at us eager kids up in the balcony. My night was made.

35th Entry, February 11th, 2014:

A week off is just what the doctor ordered. The school’s orthopedist ordered that I don’t dance for a whole week! He also prescribed anti-inflammatory medication to speed up the healing process. At first I was bummed out, but then I realized it was for the best. I have to take these pills twice a day to make sure my foot can heal as quickly as possible. Usually I prefer more natural alternatives to prescriptions, but it’s necessary in this case. I’m also taking all of my usual vitamins and a few extra supplements to help me along. Luckily, my teachers have been so patient with me. Well, at least it’s not my back! I’ve dealt with Achilles problems before, so this is a familiar beast.

Rehearsals for Baker’s Dozen have been going well. I’ve been learning a lot by observing rehearsals. I take notes while simultaneously rolling out and taking care of my leg, calf and ankle. Talk about productive! This polar vortex isn’t helping me either! I have to take cabs everywhere to avoid the frigid temperatures.

I have a good feeling that things are going to start getting better. I’m taking care of myself; I’m doing everything in my power to get better! Did I mention that Spring break is a mere sixteen days away??? The entire dance division has to come back from Spring break four days early because we open the Spring Repertory show the week we come back! There is, in fact, a light at the end of a tunnel!

34th Entry, February 2nd, 2014:

I have a confession: I’m completely in love! I’ve fallen in love with Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen! After only two rehearsals, I can’t wait to perform the piece! The woman who is staging the piece, Shelley Washington, is such a kind, down-to-earth woman with an amazing sense of humor! Between her presence and the incredible choreography, time flies. The schedule is actually very manageable this week. The piece is only twelve minutes long, and it’s comprised of many duets, trios, quartets, and a few group sections. Thus, she split up the four-hour rehearsal time so she can work with one duet, trio or quartet at a time. Yesterday I was called to rehearsal to learn a duet, and I was partnered with one of my classmates, Joe. It’ll be great to dance with someone that I know because there are also Juniors and Seniors in the piece; many of which I’ve never danced with! I’m sure I will also get to dance with the upperclassmen, but for now, I’m happy to start the rehearsal process with someone familiar.

I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the schedule board- I don’t have rehearsal today! The other duets will be working with Shelley today. I’m definitely taking advantage of it. This morning I had to get some acupuncture and a mini-massage because I was feeling the effects of last night’s rehearsal in my Achilles tendon. The treatment was intense, and I plan on taking it easy the rest of the day. My afternoon consists of Physical Therapy, yoga class, and a stop at my neighborhood Juice Press. I’ve started drinking “green” smoothies and juices. They are filling and give me so much energy! Remember friends: inhale, exhale, and be well.

33rd Entry, January 27th, 2014:

I’m enjoying this last week of freedom before rehearsals start! Well, it’s more of a healing week. With the achilles still pinching, I’m icing and elevating more than ever. I forgot to mention the piece I’m going to be in for the Spring Rep Show! I was cast in Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen! I was fitted for my white lace-up jazz shoes yesterday. I have rehearsals five days a week for three hours each day. I am doing my best to keep myself in one, healthy piece! I feel like I’m always discussing the state of my body, but I think it’s important for you to know two things: the body changes drastically on a week to week (and day-to-day!) basis, and my body is my instrument! It’s how I create my art. Just as a painter has to clean his brushes and a violinist must make sure the strings are in tune, I have to do the same maintenance!

On another note, it’s been frigid in New York! It’s like polar vortex number two! It snowed nearly ten inches last night! I know all of you Northerns and Mid-Western friends are rolling your eyes considering you all have had several feet of snow, but ten inches in New York City is a lot! The snow started falling around noon yesterday, and by 4:30 when I looked out the window in Dance History class, it was a full-on blizzard! Everyone was going crazy! It doesn’t matter if you’re two or twenty-two, but the prospect of a snow day is ALWAYS exciting! We all kept checking our e-mails for the good news. When I was a kid, I remember we would wear our pajamas inside out and put a spoon under our pillows! My class and I even ran into some of the dance administration, and they said that if we tried a “snow dance” earlier to try harder! Even they wanted a day off! Well, people say that by nature New Yorkers are tough. So low and behold no snow day for Juilliard students or the public school students. Maybe next time, Mayor De Blasio! Anyway, I’m headed to Physical Therapy and then to the Pilates room before the day is over! Until next time, stay warm and cozy!


32nd Entry, January 20th, 2014:

Here we are- the final week of Winter Break! I’m celebrating the final week of “vacation” by doing what I love most- dancing, of course! But I’m not just taking some open classes, I’m participating in the Lar Lubovitch Winter Intensive hosted by (who else?) Juilliard! It’s really the most glorious way to end break! Not to mention, I’m be completely in shape when classes resume on Monday.

The intensive schedule is fantastic. We begin the day with a body conditioning class like yoga or Gyrokinesis. Then we have a ballet or modern class, then lunch. The last part of the day is my favorite; we learn Lubovitch repertoire! The Lubovitch company members teach all of the classes and the repertoire, and the most amazing part is that Lar sits in the studio and observes! He will give a little correction here and there, but he really just watches his company members pass on the information and watches the dancers absorb his movement. The movement is organic and is satisfying. I never want this week to end!

Not that anything is ever boring here at Juilliard, but I must say I start the Spring semester with the bang! On Monday afternoon, the casting for our Spring Rep show is going to be posted! There are three works: Baker’s Dozen by Twyla Tharp, The Jig is Up by Eliot Feld, and Concerto 622 by LAR LUBOVITCH!!!! It’ll be an honor to be in any of them, but I think you know which one I’m partial to! Even though the main event in Concerto is a men’s duet, I would be happy to have even a smaller part because I know that Lar and his company members will run the rehearsal. I can’t wait to find out which piece I’m in!


31st Entry, January 9th, 2014:

Long time no speak! These past couple of weeks have been absolutely INSANELY busy! Let’s just take a moment to just review the past few months. I landed an amazing work-study position in the Office of Juilliard’s President, started my sophomore year at Juilliard, sustained a serious lower back injury, performed in two major performance series, and even juggled some projects outside of school! I guess I should start where I left off. In mid-December, I performed (for real this time!) in New Dances. I managed to get healthy enough to really dance in the performance. It took so much maintenance and care, but it was definitely worth it! The New York Times gave us a great review. New York Times critic Gia Kourlas wrote,

"The most free-spirited dancing was in Brian Brooks’s “Torrent,” which explores that choreographer’s love affair with lines and formation...In the second section, they broke through the rigid patterns with brief, explosive solos...for a few charming moments he fulfilled the objective of a student showcase: He let everyone dance." I am so proud of my class! I couldn’t be happier with how the shows turned out.

Speaking of outside projects, I’m being featured on a web-based reality series called Dance (212). I was featured on the show in high school, and the season was so successful that they are doing a “Where Are They Now?” season. I’ve been trying to get the rights to use the video footage from New Dances as well as some photos to send to the people at Dance (212). It’s so important that everyone gets credit for their work!

After the whirlwind of the shows were over, we were done with classes! Not so fast though! We had our mid-semester conferences. I was worried because of the complications about my injury. Despite my injury for a major part of the semester, my teachers praised my maturity in handling it. I had nothing to be worried about! I left the conference room very happy relieved!

Then my break really started! Well, you all know me and you’re probably not surprised that I’ve been working hard all break. I went back to Long Island to be with my family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but then I had to return back to the city to get back to work! Since I was injured for so long, my muscles had atrophied. I’m taking this break as my time to get back into the game! I’ve been taking two dance classes everyday and even joined the gym!

And how can I forget Christmas and New Year’s in new York City? Even though I’ve been so busy, I decked out my apartment with a little Christmas tree and colorful lights everywhere! It’s nice to have such a festive sanctuary to come home to at the end of a long day. It’s magical to look out of the windows of my brownstone apartment and see the snow piled up and sip some hot tea.

I have one week of “vacation” left before I return to Juilliard. During this final week, I will be dancing in the Lar Lubovitch winter intensive, which is hosted by Juilliard. I was honored to receive a full scholarship to attend the program. I did the program last winter break and it was so very inspiring!

I hope you all had a joyous holiday season and are enjoyed spending time with your family! Until next time, stay happy and healthy!


30th Entry, December 4th, 2013:

Today is December 4th. It’s been exactly 10 days since the final Choreo/Comp performance, and opening night of New Dances is only seven days away! I can’t believe it! After three days away from school for Thanksgiving break, it seems as though Christmas is here. Today is the first day in the theatre. We have a spacing rehearsal from 6-10pm tonight. Our choreographer, Brian Brooks, cannot contain his excitement for the piece. The music is so beautiful an interesting; it’s Vivaldi’s Four Seasons recomposed by Max Richter. The choreography is very intricate and yet simple to perform. The movement is very organic, which means that the body naturally wants to do it.

There are six New Dances performances. It doesn’t seem like a lot when I talk about it, but the exhaustion sets in after the second show. Performance time is the best time! We train long hard hours in the studio to be on stage. For this piece, we are not using the wings on stage. Instead, we have free range of the entire space. We don’t have to worry about running into the wings during the complex exits and entrances. Without the wings, the stage becomes almost twice as large.

One of my favorite parts of performing are the costumes! For this piece however, they aren’t even really costumes. Brian wants us to look pedestrian, so everyone has a different outfit from Uniqlo! Halfway through the piece everyone switches one part of their outfit. The color palette are similar green,yellow and other earthy tones. Up close, everyone has a very individual and unique outfit, but from afar everyone will nicely blend together.

I am beyond excited and thrilled to be performing in this piece. This time next week, I’ll be loading up on protein, stretching the muscles and preparing for opening night!


29th Entry, November 22nd, 2013:

I can't believe the performance is this week! Today we have our first tech rehearsal on stage. On Sunday, we rehearsed with the musicians for the first time. It was amazing to hear the piece played live for the first time! There's a flautist, cellist, harpist, and percussionist playing everything from the xylophone to the maracas. There's even a conductor! There's going to be 11 people on stage together! It's only a blackbox theatre, so it's quite small. The audience will sit on three sides of the stage, instead of just sitting in front of it. I cant wait to see what the other pieces are like! Hopefully I'll be able to sneak a peek during the tech rehearsals. From what I hear, each piece is very unique. It's hard to imagine that some of my classmates will be choreographing for next year's show- I feel like we just started rehearsing for this show!

In other news, my back is almost all of the way healed. I'm taking full classes, but I'm still being cautious in my more athletic modern classes. I'm able to almost fully participate in the New Dances rehearsals. I can't believe how fast that performance is coming up! After Thanksgiving break, there are two weeks before opening night! Every one is so excited to perform this weekend. There are a total of 5 performances. It’s really a time for my class to be featured. My classmates are not only looking forward to performing, but also the fact that their families will be attending the performance. I don’t blame my friends! I couldn’t imagine not seeing my parents for months on end; I have the luxury of hopping on the Long Island Railroad and seeing my parents one hour later! Even my friends from as far as Canada will be going home for Thanksgiving!


28th Entry, November 17th, 2013:

And she's back! Yesterday was the first day in four weeks that I did not experience any pain in my lower back. After spraining my sacroiliac joint early in October, I thought I'd be in constant pain forever! Alas, on Monday I did almost an entire ballet class with no pain! I also could participate in New Dances rehearsal! Hallelujah! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

In other news, I received an e-mailinforming me that I was nominated by the Juilliard staff and division heads to be a student Ambassador! There is a total of 15 ambassadors. This purpose of this group is to form a connection between alumni and current students. I look forward to meeting supporters of the performing arts. I think that dancers, and all performing artists for that matter, should be skilled in interacting with their supporters and audience members. After all, I am (usually) silent when I am performing my art; perhaps that's why I think speaking to people is so important. Dancers should have a voice and chance to be heard! I am looking forward to taking on the responsibility of representing The Juilliard School. I'm honored to be deemed worthy to be given such an amazing position.

I can’t believe the Choreographers and Composers performance is next week already! I’m getting fitted for my long red dress this weekend. You know it’s show time when you rehearsal on Sunday night from 5:30-9! After the performances are over, I have two days of classes, and then it’s Thanksgiving break! It’ll be a break I’m definitely thankful for!

26th Entry, November 3rd, 2013:

27th Entry, November 11th, 2013:

How are you feeling?”

As Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a-changin!” I’m feeling a bit better. It’s a slow process, but I feel a little improvement each day. I’m well enough to do Pilates and other strengthening exercises. I’m seeing my chiropractor and acupuncturists regularly. Last night in my New Dances rehearsal, I was able to stand and learn some of the choreography! It was a turning point (no pun intended) considering I’ve been laying on my back on a heating pad for the past two and a half weeks!

Last week I was so wrapped up in the details of my injury, I forgot to mention my Halloween plans! You’re probably thinking that this mature young woman is too old for such fun and games. And I can say is that no one is too good to enjoy Halloween festivities! I went to school in full costume (naturally) as Sarah Jessica Parker. After I was done with classes and rehearsals, my friends and I went to Chipotle (the burritos are $2 if you show up in costume!) Once I returned, I did what all people who are not trick-or-treating should do: hand out candy on my stoop! It was all too perfect: I was Sarah Jessica Parker on the stoop of my Brownstone complimenting the princesses and superheroes on their costumes as I let them take as many Jolly ranchers as they wanted. It was a rite of passage to go from trick-or-treater to candy-giver! I thought it was quite funny when the parents would instruct their children to “Thank the lady.” I couldn’t believe I was “the lady!”

On a similar note, Blake, my Choreo/Comp choreographer has decided to dress the cast in all black, and have me in a red, long, flowing dress! I’ll be walking slowly across the stage for the entire 7 minute piece. I am supposed to represent time, so the piece beings with just me walking, which gives the cue the dancers to begin dancing. When I exit the stage, the dancers’ time is “up” and the piece is over.
This “lady” is staying positive! Thanksgiving is soon, and I hve a lot to be thankful for.

26th Entry, November 3rd, 2013:

How are you feeling?”

That seems to be the million-dollar question of the week. I wish the answer was something like, “Wonderful! It’s a miracle! I’m healthy!” Unfortunately, this is not the case. I can walk without pain and do a little ballet barre, but that’s about it. I also had to make a tough decision last night before my Choreo/Comp rehearsal. With the show only two weeks away, I made the decision that I will not be able perform; the healing process is taking longer than expected. I sat down with the Associate Director of the Dance Division and Blake, the choreographer of the piece. I haven’t been able to fully participate in his rehearsals, which is not fair to the him or my fellow dancers. The piece is not yet completed, and it consists of a lot of fast and intricate movements. Blake is so kind and such talented choreographer that he decided that he does not want to completely remove me from the piece. Although the piece calls for five dancers, (and he is negotiating to find another dancer from his own class to do my role), he wants to create a special role for me. I will only be doing what my body allows me to do. The piece has a lot to do with time, so he plans on having me play the role as a “time keeper.”

I’m thrilled that I will be able to be on stage with my cast. All in all, this situation worked out in the best way possible. I want to be able to be in the New Dances production, which is also physically difficult, so my goal is to be better for that December show.

As a dancer, I really have to listen to my body. Dancers really have to look at things in the big picture. I may feel guilty and upset about not performing, but the most important thing right now is that I give my body time to heal. I do not want to jeopardize my dance career over one set of performances. I must stay strong and do my best to stay as healthy as possible!

25th Entry, October 25th, 2013:

The body is the dancer’s instrument; that being said, the instrument sometimes needs repair. My instrument needed a serious tune-up and perhaps a bit of a rest too. On Tuesday morning, after a long day of classes and rehearsals the day before, my back totally froze up. At first, I could not turn out in fifth position, then I couldn’t lift my leg, and then I was unable to stand up. I had to lay down on the floor. I went to see the Physical Therapist immediately after class. I had pain walking, sitting and standing. I couldn’t even find a comfortable position to lay down in. After seeing the Physical Therapist twice, the chiropractor three times, and the acupuncturist once, I found out that I had a sprained sacroiliac joint and my quadratus lumborum muscle was in spasm. The sacroiliac joint connects your sacrum to your pelvis. It’s an understatement to say that the use of that joint is crucial for getting around in everyday life. It’s difficult to dance when walking is painful. For one entire week, I had to sit and observe all of my classes and rehearsals. When I say sit, I mean I had to change positions every fifteen minutes so my back wouldn’t go into spasm. I was tired just from doing that!

Today was the first day that I wasn’t in total pain; I was able to take most of ballet class. I also had the final rehearsal for the dance video shoot for an up-and-coming clothing company. Since today was the last rehearsal before we filmed, the CEO, creative director, and designer of the company all came to watch the rehearsal. They are such talented young people and they appreciate all of the hard work we’ve done. I’m looking forward to shooting the video on Saturday. We even get to keep the clothes that they designed especially for us!

As I write this, I’m sitting on my bed with a heating pad wrapped around me, and I have the water running in the tub so I can take an epsom salt bath. I just simply don’t have the time to be injured!

24th Entry, October 9th, 2013:

I envy people with 9-5 jobs. They get to leave the office when it’s still light outside, run errands, see a friend, make dinner, read the paper and even (gasp!) watch a primetime television show.
Yesterday was the beginning of my 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. days.
However, I can’t complain. Yesterday I had the first rehearsal for Juilliard’s Annual New Dances performance, which takes place in mid-December. Each class gets assigned a prominent choreographer. Each choreographer creates an original piece for the class. This year, my class is working with Brian Brooks. He has a company called Brian Brooks Moving Company and even created a duet on himself and New York City Ballet Principal dancer Wendy Whelan. He and Wendy performed the duet at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts this past summer.
It is an understatement to say that my class is totally and utterly infatuated with Brian! We are excited to be working with him nine hours a week. Yesterday’s three hour rehearsal felt like forty-five minutes! We got to do some improvisation, partnering work and even create our own solos. At one point, Brian turned the music off and looked at us; the room was still. We thought that we had done something terribly wrong. All of a sudden, he shouts, “You guys are AMAZING! I can’t handle the amount of talent in the room right now!” We all humbly smiled. We were all so flattered. It was such a major compliment from such a talented choreographer; and he had only known us for an hour or two!
Not that we have New Dances rehearsals with Brian on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I have Choreo/Comp rehearsals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Oh, and I’m also starting the audition process for our Juilliard Dances Repertory performance in the Spring. This audition process actually started last spring, when the choreographer came and chose me and six other dancers to audition for a lead role in his ballet. Now he’s back and has narrowed down the group. Tomorrow, I have that “rehearsal audition” after my music class, ballet class, modern class, contemporary partnering and Choreo/Comp rehearsal. After that “rehearsal audition” I have rehearsal for the clothing brand video shoot. Call me Popeye because I plan on eating a large plate of spinach tonight!


23rd Entry, October 3rd, 2013:

Another week completed, another tin of muscle rub gone. There is no time to waste here at Juilliard! At the end of last entry I promised to divulge some exciting information about the some projects that are happening outside of school (and my already busy school schedule!) The first event that I’m really looking forward to is being part of a launch of a new clothing brand. One of my friends, an upperclassman, has chosen one person from each class to be featured in the brand’s launch video. I could not be more excited! It’s going to be like a music video, but we’re just dancing (I leave my singing for my showerhead and shampoo bottles.) We are going to shoot this video at two different outdoor locations in Manhattan. There is going to be a full production crew and even (drum roll please) a hair and make up team! A little hair and makeup makes everyone feels like a superstar! We will also be performing the choreography live at the brand’s launch party. All of the dancers (there are only 5 of us) are collaborating on the choreography. Today, the designer and a few production people are coming to watch rehearsal. I’m a little nervous but excited too!
As if all of that isn’t enough, I am in communication with a web-based-reality series I was featured on in 2012. The series focused on a few dancers “making it” in New York. The response to the 2012 season was so great that they are doing another season, and they asked me to be featured on it again. I’m so honored that they want me to return. This means I have to send in recent dance photos and videos as well as be interviewed.
Did I mention that I’m also the student representative of my class for the second year in a row? Once a month, the student reps and the Administrative Director, Director and Associate Director sit in a conference room and discuss any ideas, questions, problems, and updates that each class has. Today was the first meeting of the year. After that meeting, I went straight to work in the Office of Juilliard’s President. NOw all I have left is are rehearsals from 4:30pm until 9:30 pm.
I’m also already making weekend plans. I’m in contact with a well-known dance photographer who is going to take new headshots of me on Saturday. He’s nearly always booked, but he has photographed me in performances before and managed to squeeze me in. This weekend is getting busy and it’s not even Thursday!
And with a change of clothes, I leave the comfortable and air-conditioned President’s Office off to turn, leap and sweat in a rehearsal studio. Who knows what the future (or even the rest of this day!) holds? Stay well, my friends!

22nd Entry, September 20th, 2013:

School started with a bang! For all of you dancers, it was like we went straight from pliés at the barre into a grand allegro exercise across the floor. Before school even started, I was in rehearsals for a really special project called Table of Silence. The piece was choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi,and is in it’s third year as a public tribute to 9/11. Over 100 people including dancers from Buglisi Dance Theatre, Juilliard, and even non-dancers took part in the ceremonious performance. Dressed in white silk tunics, we marched and danced in unison right in the middle of Lincoln Center on September 11th from 8:15am until 8:46am- the time that the first plane crashed. At 8:46, we had our arms extended towards the sky and held the position for one full minute. Many people came to share the beautiful moment with us.
The performance took place on the third day of school, but on the first full day back, I had the Choreographers and Composers audition. We refer to the performance as Choreo/Comp. This is a very unique show that Juilliard puts on annually. Almost every division plays a crucial role throughout the performance process. The second-year dancers (i.e. my class) dance, a handful of the third year dancers choreograph, those who don’t choreograph are in charge of lighting and stage managing, second and third year composers work with the choreographers to create an original score, and third and fourth year musicians play live with us during each performance. It’s quite a complicated process, but it has been an incredible experience. The audition was on Monday, and rehearsals started last Wednesday (it was the same day I had to be at Lincoln Center for a 6 a.m. call time to prepare for Table of Silence!) All six choreographers (who are dancers in the class above me) sat at a long table in the front of the room. Then, one by one they each taught us a short combination and watched us do it. I was so excited when I found out who my choreographer was! I enjoyed learning his material the best. His choreography felt most natural on my body. It gets even better- my roommate and best friend was also chosen to be in his piece!
On top of rehearsing, I’ve also maintained my work schedule! I’ve been working in the evenings when I have a hour break or so and I’ve been working in the President’s Office twice a week when I have my lunch break. Between classes, rehearsals, performances, and work, I’ve also taken on a few exciting projects outside of school. This upcoming week, I have some photo shoots, an interview and even a video shoot! More on all of that next week! Stay tuned!


21st Entry, September 2nd, 2013:

Looking at my never-ending to do list, I still have to purchase extra-large blonde bobby pins, tan split sole ballet shoes, striped black fitted Nike leggings, fresh orthotics, and racer back tank tops (and matching sports bras, of course). Unfortunately, I don’t think Staples will be carrying my back-to-school supplies this year.
Ever since I was in Elementary School, I have always loved the feeling of starting fresh every September. I never understood what the big deal was about January 1st; to me, the first day of school marked the beginning of the New Year. Even now, another year brings new friends, teachers and opportunities. I have even more classes, rehearsals and commitments than last year. In addition to all of that, I now have to pay bills, do laundry and work, work, work! I’m ready to reinvent myself. I’m not a freshman anymore!
For as long as I can remember, people have considered me to be an “old soul.” At summer camp, I preferred to spend time with the counselors rather than the campers; at age 10, the first album on my pink iPod mini was Pink Floyd’s The Wall; and I have watched almost every crime drama that the USA network has to offer. So, it’s only fitting that when the freshmen get the official tour of the administrative floor, their Orientation Leaders say, “That’s Victoria, the President’s Office Special Assistant. Oh, and she’s also a second-year dancer.” I won’t be surprised if I have to reintroduce myself once I become just another backpack-toting, Lululemon-clad, sweaty dancer on the third floor!
Next time I write, I’ll have my first day outfit all picked out, my lunch packed, and my agenda triple checked. With seven days to go, (cue that popular 1980’s song) it’s the final countdown!


20th Entry, August 22nd, 2013:

Can you believe that this is my twentieth entry already? When I wrote my first entry, I still had an entire semester of freshman year to go! Had someone told me what the summer of 2013 had in store for me, I don’t think I would’ve believed it! I remember writing that first entry after a very long day of classes and rehearsals. I remember sitting at my desk in my tiny dorm room soaking my feet in Epsom salts and sending off the first entry. I was so tired that night that I asked my roommate to proofread it to make sure I didn’t have any silly errors.
I certainly have come far since then. I start school in exactly fourteen days. I know I’m always writing about making the most of my time, but I’ve laid out and planned every minute of every day until school starts. I don’t want to start school and have regrets that I didn’t work, play, or dance enough this summer. Speaking of play, I had two of my best friends over my apartment last night. It was great to sit around my kitchen table and catch up! We swapped summer program stories (they were dancing in San Francisco and I was here in NYC) and tried predicting what this upcoming school year will bring! Sophomore year is hands-down the busiest and (sometimes) the most over-scheduled year. Upperclassmen tell us stories about their sophomore year, but I really think I have to experience it to really know!
I’m currently working at school as I write this, and I must say, I can feel the school awakening from its long summer’s slumber. There is a buzzing in the hallways as the Orientation Team prepares for the new students. Freshmen begin their two week orientation process next Monday. For me, orientation feels like a lifetime ago! However, it’s really been something like 365 days.
Well, the phone is ringing off the hook here in the President's Office. I must attend to my duties as Special Assistant! Next time I write, there will be seven days until it all begins!


19th Entry, August 15th, 2013:

“Imprint the spine, soften the neck and chest, and breathe!”

“Hello, President’s Office, this is Victoria.”

“Is the leg croisé or écarté on count 5?”

“Can you spot me? I’m about to do Twist Preparation on the Wunda Chair.”

The above dialogue has nothing in common, except for the fact that it’s all spoken by me throughout the course of a single day! I must say, I’m constantly changing “hats” on a daily basis. I can’t go on autopilot for a second! Once I almost made the mistake of answering the phone at the President’s Office like I do when I'm working at the front desk at the Pilates Studio. Thankfully, I caught myself and avoided the potentially awkward and embarrassing situation. Now, I make the transition from Pilates teacher to Special Assistant to Dancer to veteran Pilates enthusiast with ease because I’ve been doing it all summer! During the year, I only have Saturdays and Sundays off. During the week, I’m in class from 9am to 8pm. I plan on maintaining all of my current positions throughout the school year. I hope to seamlessly transition from dance student during the week to Pilates instructor on the weekends to Special Assistant during my lunch hours and fitting in my personal Pilates workouts in between. It's a good thing that I'm not afraid of a challenge!

A lot of my friends from my class will be returning to school two weeks before the official start date because they are working as Orientation Leaders. They will be in charge of a mixed group of freshmen dancers, actors and musicians. As Orientation Leaders, they are required to attend all of the meetings that their group is assigned, as well as answer questions, and plan activities . I can’t wait for all of my friends to come over and see my apartment for the first time. I’m sure they will need to take a break from working, and I’m looking forward to catching up with them! 21 days until I begin my sophomore year!

18th Entry, August 9th, 2013:

I can’t believe how nervous I was about starting my practice teaching hours at the Pilates studio. Now that I’ve been working with the same student for a week, I’ve become much more comfortable. I love writing “mini-lesson plans” before each session I have with him (can’t you tell my mother is a kindergarten teacher?) I like to have an overarching theme to each session. For example, on Friday, I taught a lot of leg and upper back exercises. Dancers can never do enough exercises to strengthen their legs!

Speaking of strong legs, with exactly one month to go before school starts, I am upping the ante on my own workout schedule. When I went home this weekend, I went to the beach and made sure I ran on the sand and swam in the ocean. At first, I was upset with myself for feeling out of breath after running a shorter distance than I was running last summer. However, I realized that last summer I wasn’t working five days a week, training to become a Pilates teacher, or living in a brownstone in the most desirable neighborhood in all of Manhattan. I work hard and for as many hours as I can so I can handle covering the costs of living in my own apartment. Yes, my parents help out, but it’s my apartment and I should be responsible for it!

In other words, this month I am determined to do as much as possible to prepare myself for the intense start of an intense year. I do my best work when I’m under pressure with time constraints. With exactly 29 days to go, I am going to crank up the intensity and make the most of those 29 days! I wrote my schedule in my agenda for the first two weeks of school. I’m motivated to go the extra mile just by looking at my packed agenda! It’s crunch time! (Literally!)

17th Entry, August 1st, 2013:

I woke up extra early this morning. I made sure I ate a hearty breakfast and I arrived early to the Pilates studio. This morning at 9 a.m., I taught my first practice teaching session! I was so nervous about it but as soon as I began teaching, I was totally relaxed. As it turns out, I know more than I thought I did. I’ve been a student of Pilates for about six years already and I’ve worked intensively with my mentor. I really got myself all worked up for nothing! As it turns out, not only is my student a dancer, but he’s also a Juilliard alumni and a member of a prominent modern dance company right here in New York City! We work together every morning before he heads off to his daily company class. This practice teaching situation could not have worked out any better. Now I must complete two hundred hours of practice teaching along with two hundred hour of observing and two hundred hours of working out on my own. Well now it’s 199 hours of practice teaching! I am determined to get fully certified, even though the numbers do seem intimidating. I know it’ll all be worth it in the end!

I’ve also been taking open dance classes. I just looked at the school dance calendar and realized that I have auditions for the first set of performances on the third day back to school, and the rehearsals begin on the fifth day back to school. I need to make sure my body is in the best condition as possible when school begins to avoid the risk of injury as I dive in head first into my second year.

As the beginning of the school year creeps up on all of us, the Juilliard President’s Office will become increasingly busy. Now that the President of Juilliard will be back in his office, just about everyone will want to make appointments and have meetings with him. The phone will be ringing off the hook and I’m ready to take care of business!

16th Entry, July 24th, 2013:

It’s all over! I can’t believe my summer program is finished! I had such an incredible experience at Movement Invention Project (MIP). I feel that I now possess the tools required to confidently improvise in any given situation. I’d say that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment considering it only took fifteen days. I had the opportunity to work with so many up-and –coming as well as well-known teachers and choreographers. Now that I have formed some sort of relationship with them, I am looking forward to seeing and working with them in the near future. I’ve been researching where their companies are performing or when they are teaching master classes. I feel that it’s very important to maintain meaningful relationships with people in the dance world; after all, it’s certainly a very small world. However, there are people out there who make connections and network for the sake of networking. I think that genuine communication with a few people goes a longer way than a million superficial acquaintances. After all, if it’s meant to be, people will seek you out.

As of Monday, I’m back in the President of Juilliard’s Office. After three weeks of exclusively wearing athletic apparel, I’m having fun wearing “real people” clothes. It’s so nice to reconnect and catch up with everyone here in the office; I met so many people when I started working here back in June. In addition to the office, I’m now back on my usual Pilates and open dance class schedule. August may be approaching, but my summer’s not over yet!


15th Entry, July 17th, 2013:

It’s the final week of Movement Invention Project; I can’t believe it’s almost over! I’ve learned so much from my teachers and fellow dancers. On Friday, we are having a “sharing.” This means that we (the dancers) can invite family and friends to observe us participating in some improvisation exercises. It’s not called a showing because we aren’t performing, but we are simply allowing people observe the processes of improvising. I feel like I’ve always known the people I’ve met in the program. We all agree that it feels like we’ve been dancing with each other for years! It’s the most incredible feeling to have that connection especially since we’ve known each other for sixteen days!

In other news, there has been a crazy heatwave here in New York City. I can’t remember a day cooler than 92 degrees and at least 70 percent humidity. It must be terrible for the men in those suits with jackets and ties! Sometimes when I’m waiting for a subway to arrive, I feel like i’m going to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz! However, by the time I get to the dance studio, I’m practically all warmed up and ready to dance! It’s definitely the plus side of this insane heat.

I work very hard during the day and sweat A LOT. It’s really important for me to drink as much water as possible (and then some). I also spend at least a half hour after my day is over and do some “cool down” stretches. It’s essential to calm the body down and stretch out after a long day of hard work. I roll my feet out on these little spiky balls; they are actually dryer balls! I also use a foam roller to work out the kinks on my back, legs, neck, arms; you name it, the foam roller helps it! When I get home, I make sure to massage out my calves and feet some more. I have to keep my instrument in tune!

14th Entry, July 10th, 2013:

I just began my second week at Movement Invention Project, the program that I’m participating in this summer. Every day has been electrifying! I’ve been working with the most incredible dancers and choreographers in the nation, if not the world right now! The program focuses on honing improvisational skills and techniques. Improv skills are crucial to have as a twenty-first century dancer because choreographers and company directors can learn more about your dancing as well as personality by observing how you move. Not many people from my class at school are doing the program, so it’s nice to dance with people who I don’t know! Of course I’ve made friends since the first day of the program, but people don’t know me like my classmates at Juilliard do. The people doing the intensive don’t know that improv terrifies me! Let me correct myself; improv used to terrify me, now I don’t know what I was so nervous about! I feel like I’m going to go back to school a different type of dancer. I’m completely enjoying the summer, but part of me is excited to return to school with this new outlook!

My best friend and roommate is finally moved in to our apartment. Even though I’ve been living here for over a month, I’m not all the way moved in. It’s quite the process! Suddenly I have to cook dinner and pay electric bills. I’m enjoying the independence. After the intensive is over, I’ll return to work as the Special Assistant to the President of Juilliard. I really do miss working there. Between working, dancing and Pilates training, it’s been quite the summer.

You’ve all heard so much about my summer, but I must share something about someone else’s summer. My little brother (well, he’s 17 and 6’5’’), is going on tour with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, an orchestra brought together by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Institute. Not only will he perform at SUNY Purchase College in New York and the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., but he will also perform in Russia in St. Petersburg and Moscow and London, England. I could not be prouder!

More exciting summer updates are on their way!

13th Entry, June 7th, 2013:

This has probably been the most exciting and eventful summer of my life (so far!) What started as a temporary job filling in for the President of Juilliard’s assistant for two weeks has turned into something so much more! After four days of working the original nine to five two week stint, my position was altered from Receptionist to Special Assistant. No, no, I did not did not steal someone’s job, but a new position was created just for me! I was pretty upset at the end of the two weeks because I had learned so much and met so many interesting people. On my final day, the woman I was filling in for informed me that she would need someone to assist her for the remainder of the summer! I was blown away! I've been working in the office on a daily basis, and will continue to throughout the entire summer.

On top of this position here, I've been training to become a Pilates teacher. My mornings are filled with reading Pilates manuals, practicing exercises, and learning how to teach. I'm hoping to be able to actually have clients by the end of the summer. I can't wait to bring my dance friends to the studio. As a Student Teacher, I can offer them an affordable price; Pilates should be accessible to everyone! I can be at the Pilates studio as early as 7 a.m.! After all, in order to receive a certificate, I need to complete a combined 600 hours of teaching, observing and working out. It's a lot of work, but I know that it definitely all pay off.

After Pilates and working in the Office of the President, I like to work in another office, or I go and take a dance class. I'm lucky to live in New York City because I have a wide variety of classes to choose from. I can take a ballet class one day or a Graham-based modern class the next day.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my apartment is absolutely spectacular. I am now equipped with a giant red couch from IKEA, and I even have Internet and cable! I was really living in the dark ages for awhile. And now I cook (or at least I pretend to know what I’m doing.) Busy, busy, busy! More doors open as each day goes by! I’m trying to make the most out of this summer!

12th Entry, May 28th, 2013:

At the end of my last entry, I promised I would reveal my latest work-study position here at school. Well, I am writing this entry from the Office of the President of Juilliard because I am (can I get a drum roll, please?) his secretary for the next couple of weeks! Throughout the summer, I will be filling in when his usual secretary is out. I'm honored that I was approved to take this position. I look forward to experiencing Juilliard from a new point of view. Arts administration has always interested me, and I know I will get great exposure from working in this office. This position could not have fallen into my lap at a better time. With all of this work-study I've been able to do, I am proud to say that I can cover many of the expenses of moving into a new apartment. Why should my parents have to worry about paying for a new couch? I'm ready (and able!) to take on more financial responsibility.

I believe that this position will give me the incalculable experiences that all individuals transitioning from teen to adulthood should possess. I’ve only been behind the desk for two hours and I’ve spoken with the President, taken several messages and run errands. Professionalism is definitely key while working here; you just never know who is going to call. As I look at the day’s schedule, I see that there are meetings all afternoon. Once I return from my lunch break, I will meet and direct visitors to the President’s Office. There are some very interesting and important people who walk through these doors every day. I am the first person these guests will see!

As I look out the expansive window behind my desk, I can see all of Lincoln Center. I am now experiencing Juilliard in a pair of heels and a button-down blouse instead of my usual Nike sneakers and dance apparel. Wish me luck on my fist 9-5er!

11th Entry, May 24th, 2013:

It’s done! It’s over! My first year at Juilliard has come to a close! One of my modern teachers always says, “It’s September of your Freshman year, and then you graduate.” I understand that now! Our shows last weekend went extremely well- our teacher who staged the piece was moved to tears (of joy, of course!) I loved finishing off the year on that humongous stage. Even though we only had two performances, we made them memorable.

On Tuesday, my best friend (and new roommate) went furniture shopping at Ikea. We had so much fun picking out a couch, desks and accessories for our new apartment! I can’t believe I signed the lease and everything- I get the keys in about a week! It was a miracle that I was able to get everything out of my dorm room in time for move-out day. It took over two hours to get everything out. I’m so lucky that I have such a patient father who helped me load his truck with numerous duffle bags and a ton of plastic bins. I must say, it was quite the aerobic workout!

After almost everything was out of my room, on Wednesday morning I had my end of the year conference. You walk into a room, and all of your teachers are sitting around a table. One by one, each teacher gives you feedback from the entire semester. We had a conference at the end of the first semester as well. Some people get nervous for these meetings, but I look forward to hearing what my teachers have to say. Just like the first conference, I was the first person scheduled to go! I was in there at 10 am. My conference went well. I am excited to apply their corrections and suggestions to my dancing over the summer.

Now that it’s officially summer break, I have recently added even more things to my busy schedule. In addition to my current work-study positions in an office, a concert usher, and student ambassador, I have just gotten word that I will take on a new position in perhaps one of the most important offices at Juilliard. In the next entry, I will reveal this mystery position!

10th Entry, May 15th, 2013:

I am beginning my final week as a Juilliard freshman! I cannot believe it! Just today I had my dance history and music final exam. Now I have Missa Brevis rehearsals in the theatre because Friday is opening night. I’m so excited to perform on the gigantic Peter Jay Sharp stage - I’ve been itching to since I last danced on it in December. We’ve been rehearsing in our costumes which consist of a long black wrap skirt, long-sleeved black leotard and a black kerchief to tie around our head. It’s so hot under the bright stage lights in an all black costume. Tomorrow is our first dress rehearsal. I’m looking forward to the real deal on Friday!

Even though the end of the year is exciting I have to face the facts: I must move EVERYTHING out of my tiny dorm room by this weekend. I share my room with a fellow dancer, and as the year has progressed, we have accumulated just too much stuff. I’ve been bringing bags of clothing and other knick knacks home with me on the weekends for the past two weeks and there’s barely any difference in the room! When my parents come to see the show, they are going to help me schlep everything out and into the car. I’m so lucky that I don’t have to worry about getting on an airplane with all of my things. So many of my friends are stressing out about overpacking suitcases and not being able to get everything home. I can put everything in garbage bags and throw them into the back of a car!

Speaking of moving, I have some very exciting news (can I get a drumroll please!?): I am moving into my own apartment! One of my friends from my class found the place, and we are going to live there together. Let me tell you, most little girls dreams of living in a castle with a pony when they grew up. I, on the other hand, dreamt of a brownstone studio loft apartment in Manhattan. I cannot wait to redecorate, redesign and reorganize! It’s a dream come true. This week is just full of happiness with the show and the finalization of the apartment. I have a very exciting summer ahead of me. Actually, I have to stay in school until next Wednesday. On Wednesday we have our end of the year conferences - more on that later. Until next time, wish me luck for my performances!

9th Entry, May 8th, 2013:

Suddenly, there are only 14 days left of my freshmen year at Juilliard! These next two weeks are possibly the busiest of the year! Thankfully, the injury that had kept me from dancing to my fullest is completely healed. After a couple of appointments and a weekend off, I’m good as new! It’s a good thing too, because just today was our Composition Class’s final project performance! I started working on the piece with two of my classmates way back in April. Today we performed the finished product during an in-studio showcase for our faculty and fellow dancers. I was so proud of my classmates. Everyone had collaborated within their groups, and seeing their ideas come together during a performance was truly incredible.

Speaking of performances, I begin stage rehearsals for Missa Brevis this upcoming Monday! The rehearsal period really flew by. The performances are on May 17th and 18th. My class is excited to perform the piece. Missa Brevis is like a rite of passage; once the shows are over, we are officially second year students! We are no longer the low man on the totem pole! Working on this piece together has been a great bonding experience. A lot of us won’t see each other all summer, so it’s nice to end the year with a strong and meaningful ensemble piece.

However, before we perform, we have to take our finals. I have a Music and Dance History final. Dance History class is so much fun! I love learning about the careers and history of the greatest dancers of all time. That final should be easy enough. On the other hand, my Music final will require a little more preparation. I'm a little nervous for it! I came into Juilliard without any basic music training. On our final, we are required to read scores, identify time signatures and be familiar with a libretto of an opera. Other sections include identifying and describing certain instruments. The final is next Tuesday, so I'm going to start studying now!

In addition to school events, I also have some great things lined up for the summer! Not everything is definite (there is more paperwork to be done!), but stay tuned for some exciting news in the upcoming weeks!

8th Entry, April 30th, 2013:

Not only do I dance ‘til I drop each and every day, I also do as much work-study as possible. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this as I'm working my ushering job! The opera has just begun and I'm sitting at my post right outside of the door of the orchestra section. For our ushering uniform, we have to wear a white shirt and black bottoms. Today I have to wear my orthopedic sneakers because I came straight from a very intense acupuncture session. No heels tonight! For a dancer, function always wins in the battle against fashion. I wish I could watch the show, but since it's the end of the semester, I have a ton of homework to do. I am able to sit out here, write this entry, edit a paper, and listen to the beautiful singing from inside the theatre! I must say, work-study at Juilliard is never boring.

Another job I picked up this past Saturday is working for the Juilliard Development Office. The office organized a Juilliard Juniors performance in the Kaufman studio. The studio has one glass wall that overlooks Broadway. It's truly the biggest and brightest studio in the building! The event was about exposing very young children to dance. Several of my classmates performed ballet, jazz or tap pieces for an audience of boys and girls aged two to four and their parents. I watched the show and inadvertently 'babysat' the children who couldn't sit through the entire performance. Perhaps I take after my mother who is a Kindergarten teacher because I just love little kids! After the performance was over, I helped set up the catered food. I couldn't help but nibble on a few of the kiddie snacks like Goldfish and sip a juice box. The children then had free range to dance around the studio with their parents and the dancers. It was so much fun! At the end of the event, I was even offered a babysitting position! It's all about networking here in the Big Apple. This month I was able to earn a small income from giving tours of the school, ushering, working in the development office, and filing papers in another office. It is crucial to seek out opportunities and take advantage of every situation! Productivity is key!

7th Entry, April 24th, 2013:

A dancer’s body should work like a well-oiled machine. However, sometimes here and there the machine has a glitch. I rely so much on my feet and ankles that sometimes things slip out of place. For about two weeks, my ankle had been bothering me. I had been taking it easy when I could and massaging it to keep the pain under control. Needless to say, the Workshop last Friday was a great success; our choreographer received great compliments from teachers and friends. We were all proud of our performance. I managed to dance in the Workshop witout too much discomfort. The adrenaline from being onstage makes your body numb to pain. However, inside the studio, you can feel it all.

Today during ballet class, I realized I could’t even point my foot while I was doing an exercise at the barre! My ankle just froze up. My teacher sensed something was wrong. She instructed me too see the Associate Director for a referral for an acupuncturist/chiropractor. I was so thankful that when I called the office; I was able to come in for an appointment almost immediately. I knew I was in good hands. I mean, if Juilliard trusts this doctor with their dancers, he must really know his stuff! I explained to him the situation, and he managed to make the pain go away. I was thankful that something was just out of place and I hand’t done anything un-fixable or permanent. I practically limped to the office and when I left, I was a pain-free woman!

I must say that I believe that everything happens for a reason. As soon as I stepped out onto the sidewalk, I checked my phone and saw I had a new e-mail. It turns out that one of the choreographers for next year’s April Concert who had observed my ballet class wanted to have a private audition/rehearsal with me and several other women who he felt could fill a few of the main roles of his piece. I could’t believe the timing! With my foot as good as new, I’d be able to fully dance in this mini-audition! I’m honored to just be considered for a leading role. Even if I don’t end up getting one of the leads, I’ll be happy that I had the opportunity to work semi-privately with the choreographer.

I could not have predicted the turn of events that happened today. Until next time, stay healthy, happy and proactive! It all pays off!

6th Entry, April 18th, 2013:

This week is absolutely chaotic! There is no time to catch Spring Fever, I need to manage my time well and be ready to go! The rehearsal process is finally over for the student workshop piece. I've ben rehearsing until 10 o'clock the past few nights. The show is this Friday. I can't wait to make my debut in the Wilson Theatre. It's a small and intimate space where all of the student choreography is performed.

We are also getting down to the wire with our Missa Brevis rehearsals; the show is less than five weeks away. We have to go through every detail and every step to make sure the piece looks "clean."

Not only am I a student ambassador and take incoming students on tours of the school, I am also the Student Representative for my class. Every three weeks, I sit around a conference table with the other student representatives along with the Artistic Director, Associate Director and Administrative Director of the Dance Division. We discuss any issues or questions that the classes has asked their Student Representative to bring up. It's a great way to get to know the men and women who run the division.

In addition to the packed rehearsal and class schedule, I am also juggling academic classes. This week, I am giving a presentation and handing in a research paper on the famous ballerina Njinska. She danced and choreographed in the early to mid twentieth century. The book is just a delight to read. Her stories of watching the ballerinas of the Russian Imperial Theatres perform Swan Lake and her description of her summers with the Ballet Russes in Monte Carlo are just magnificent. After a long day of rehearsals, I love to curl up with a good book.

5th Entry, April 12th, 2013:

Spring has finally come to New York City! A dancer’s body reacts well to this warm weather; all of those winter aches just melt away in the heat. I’ve been trying to spend time outside as much as possible, even if it’s during a fifteen minute break!

Springtime at Juilliard also means that we find out who will be part of next year’s freshmen class. I was chosen to be a Student Ambassador for when the admitted students visit the school. I can’t wait to finally meet the new freshmen! I look forward to getting to know some of the new students before the start of the school year in September. Sometimes new students come with parents or teachers. I will pick them up from the Admissions Office and take them to observe my class. After observing either ballet or modern class, I will take them to eat lunch in the cafeteria. My class is so welcoming, I know that the new students will love bonding with us! I look forward to answering any and every question they have; I know I had a lot when I visited!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I spent the day as a “new freshmen.” I remember that day so clearly, I even remember what I wore. I hoped that when it was time for this year’s freshmen to visit I would be asked to be an ambassador. Look at me now!

In other news, next year’s April Concert is already being planned! Some casting choices will be made as early as the end of this year! After seeing the upperclassmen perform so wonderfully this past weekend, I can’t wait to get up on that stage and work with world renowned choreographers. But, the show’s not for an entire year. Before I can get too involved with next year’s performances, I must focus on this year’s! We are still in rehearsals for Missa Brevis. There are so many exciting things on the way!

4th Entry, April 3rd, 2013:

After a two week respite, I was ready to sauté my way back into the studio! I was happy that I took classes over the break so I wouldn’t be sore the first day back. I’m glad I did, we had a full day of classes and rehearsals that first Monday. Besides rehearsing for our show in May and being involved in a student choreography piece, I’ve also started to work on my final assignment for my Composition (choreography) class. I decided to collaborate with two of my classmates. It’s always a little overwhelming when you start to choreograph; the possibilities are endless!

The three of us decided that we’d like to draw inspiration from Édouard Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe. Seeing as our trio consists of two men and one woman, the same number as in the painting, we thought it would be a perfect place to start. You may being wondering how a dancer, a performing artist, can derive movement from a painting. To start, the three of us used our imagination to establish relationships between the three people in the painting. Next, we imagined what things these individuals in the painting would talk about. From there, we created phrases of movement, like short combinations, to fit our “characters.” I use quotation marks because we are not simply acting out a narrative story; we used the painting keep us on track and maintain cohesive ideas. I enjoy working in small groups because each person has his or her own personal style. I’m so lucky to be able to collaborate with my extremely talented classmates. I feel that this collaboration process has been an important learning experience because the three of us all possess such different and unique qualities of movement.

Oh! how can I forget? The upperclassmen are dancing in Juilliard’s annual April Concert this week. The dancers will be performing repertory works by acclaimed choreographers: Paul Taylor, William Forsythe and Murray Louis. I can’t wait to be part of next year’s performance. As for this year, I’ll be watching from the audience and supporting my fellow dancers.

3rd Entry, March 13th, 2013:

Although the second and final week of Spring Break has kicked off, the end is not near! There is too much to do! Since school is out, I go elsewhere to take classes. There are so many places and opportunities in New York City. I think it’s important to make the most of this fantastic city whenever possible.

I enjoy taking open classes not only to stay in shape, but to reconnect with others in the dance community. In an open class, I also have the freedom to artistically experiment. Even though the studio is filled with people, you can be anonymous if you choose. It’s the beauty of New York! I’ve finally been able to spend more hours at the Pilates studio. My Pilates mentor and I have a wonderful relationship; I’ve been doing Pilates with her for about five years now. She’s training me to be a teacher at the studio! I can’t wait to start teaching in the near future. I would love to bring dancers to the studio and introduce them to the wonderful world of Pilates!

In addition to my busy schedule in the city, this vacation gave me the opportunity to spend time with my family. I loved spending entire days at my house without having to worry when I had to catch a train back to school. While I was at home, I finalized my summer plans. I’ll be a part of a program that focuses on developing and refining improvisational skills. I’m excited to dive into this program! Summer can’t come soon enough. Afterall, this girl had to deal with a snow storm on her spring break. Let the sunshine in!

2nd Entry, March 5th, 2013:

It's finally Spring Break! For most college kids, this time of year means heading down south to blow off some mid-semester steam. For us here at Juilliard, it's the perfect time to get a break from the increasingly intensive rehearsals for our end of the year performances.

We have two whole weeks off! I'm lucky enough to be based in New York, so I can take open classes around the city that I don't usually have time for when school is in session. I’m also trying to get to the Pilates studio as often as possible. I believe that cross training is crucial to keeping your body healthy. Hopefully, this big nor’easter they are predicting won’t hit us so I can ride my bike around the city! Since Juilliard itself is still open, I’ve been able to do some work/study in an office and usher some of the musical performances. I love being able to work right inside of school.

To be at Juilliard during this time of year is very exciting; it’s audition week! As I walk to make copies or run an errand to the mail room, I see girls with slicked-back buns clutching their dance bags anxiously waiting to be summoned to the audition studio. I was in their shoes just one year ago! I remember warming up in the studio where I currently have my daily ballet class. It’s surreal. Now, it’s like I have two homes. My parents house is just a hop, skip and a jump away from my dorm room that overlooks Lincoln Center. Many of my friends live thousands of miles away from their families; one of my classmates is from Australia! I like to bring my friends home with me on the weekends when my schedule allows it. My schedule now, as busy as it is, will intensify in the fall semester. I just can’t believe that in the coming months, I won’t be a First Year anymore. Second Year means more privileges and opportunities, but more responsibilities.

First Entry, February 26th, 2013:

I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my high school’s library when my phone rang. I ran into the hallway, quickly answered the phone: it was The Juilliard School! I had been accepted as one of the thirteen women they chose from around the world. As a first year student in my second semester, I am living my dream. Not only am I dancing in New York City, but I am living here too! My days here at Juilliard are jam-packed! I juggle rehearsals, liberal arts, and dance classes. Each morning, I have either a music or liberal arts class, a ballet class, a modern class and then lunch.

After lunch, I have a choreography class, a performance class or dance history, and I end my day with various rehearsals. This week, I will be performing in the February student choreography workshop. Students get the chance to choose music, a cast of dancers, and create their own piece. One of my classmates choreographed a piece for the entire class. It will be my debut in a workshop! I’m so very excited. Hopefully, I’ll find the inspiration and courage to choreograph a piece in the near future! I’m also in the rehearsal process of a José Limón piece entitled Missa Brevis. The piece is set on the entire freshmen class. We will perform the piece in May on the school’s largest stage, in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre. Our rehearsal director was a prominent member in The Limón Company and danced the piece many times. She wants to make sure each movement reaches its fullest potential. We have not learned the entire piece yet, but that’s why we rehearse for five hours a week. My first semester went by so quickly, I can’t believe the end of the year is already approaching. I won’t get ahead of myself just yet; the year still has so many exciting things to bring!